Cressida Dick has won a victory after the government agreed to a review of how she came to leave office after a clash with the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.
The Home Office is expected to announce it will ask Sir Tom Winsor to examine how Dick came to be ousted as commissioner of the Metropolitan police last month, a government source confirmed.
Dick resigned rather than go to a meeting with Khan about the scandals plaguing the Met and attempts to rebuild public confidence. She believed her plans for reforms were good enough, but he did not.
The government did not step in and back her when it became clear Khan had lost confidence in her leadership.
In the aftermath of Dick’s resignation, her deputy, Sir Stephen House, wrote to the home secretary demanding a review of how the Met commissioner had come to leave office. The government has taken more than a month to consider House’s demands, and has now agreed.
Sources in government and City Hall said the review would not “change any outcomes”. Negotiations between the mayor and Dick about the date and terms of her departure – such as a payout of about £500,000 – continue.
One area the review may examine is “communications” between City Hall and the Met’s top team, and whether it was as clear and effective as it should have been.
It is understood the proposed exit terms for Dick initially included a confidentiality clause, but City Hall sources insist that was dropped on the insistence of Khan and the commissioner will be free to criticise whoever she wants when she leaves office.
Government sources say the wrangling has delayed the formal advert for the Met commissioner’s job being published, meaning it could be summer until a new top officer is chosen or in place to lead the UK’s ’s biggest force.
News of the review was first reported by the Mail on Sunday. Winsor is the chief inspector of constabulary whose time in office ends this week. Khan, as well as being London mayor, is the police and crime commissioner for London. The government is also reviewing the power and effectiveness of police and crime commissioners.
The appointment and removal of the Met commissioner is made by the home secretary, Priti Patel, who has to have due regard for the views of the London mayor.
In September last year Patel and Khan backed Dick being granted a two-year extension to her five-year term in the job, which was due to end next month.
Relations between Dick and Khan soured after revelations about hate messages circulating among officers at Charing Cross police station from 2016 to 2018. The mayor was angered that nine of them were still serving in the Met, with two promoted.
Dick had been pressed to come up with a plan to deal with the huge problems facing the Met, and in the mayor’s view failed to do so. She was due to attend with a meeting with the mayor to discuss her plans, having been told beforehand that Khan viewed them as inadequate.
Dick then decided to resign as commissioner rather than attend meeting with Khan.
At that stage Khan had not formally declared he had lost confidence in the commissioner, but few doubt that is where things were headed. A public declaration of his loss of confidence in her would have left her with no choice but to resign.
There is process enshrined in law for the removal of a commissioner, either by sacking or a declaration no confidence, which involves giving written reasons for the decision and an opportunity for them to provide a response. City Hall believes those laws do not apply because the commissioner chose to resign.
A City Hall source said: “Rather than wasting officials’ time and taxpayers’ money ordering a politically motivated inquiry about the resignation of a police commissioner who has overseen a host of scandals, the home secretary should finally show leadership and focus on the job of sorting out the huge issues facing the Met and police forces across the country – as well as fixing her scheme so that Ukrainian refugees can find sanctuary in our country.”
Announcing his demand for a review last month, House said: “I feel deeply disappointed. There’s a clear procedure in statute laid down to allow the removal of a police chief officer. It’s not been followed in this instance; it’s not even been initiated in this instance.
“Due process has not been followed, and instead we’ve seen matters played out in the media. Because of this, I’ve written to the home secretary to ask her to have a review carried out of the events that have taken place.”